Life-Changing ‘Smile’ Delivered- A Gift To Little Taiba

Cleft lip and cleft palate deformities are treatable. With proper treatment, cleft deformities can transform into perfect ‘smiles’. Though it involves cleft rectification surgery and proper nutrition under medical guidance. However, due to lack of awareness about the cleft, inadequate financial support and the social stigma, even today, a cleft person’s struggle remains unheard. Significantly, the plight of children affected by cleft lip and palate deformities is even pathetic. Cleft babies cannot feed properly. They require a special feeding bottle. Moreover, most children are from an economically weaker section of society. This makes them vulnerable to malnutrition and hence their suffering increases to no end.

In our Siliguri Surgery Camp, conducted in 2017,  our team came across a 1-year-old girl childTaiba Khatoon. She had cleft lip deformity from birth.  Her parents were farmers with a meagre monthly income of Rupees Five Thousand. Also, the parents (both uneducated) were clueless about what they should do to heal their baby! The child’s mother confessed that they were unaware of the deformity. So when their child was born with a cleft, they panicked and became scared. Their family members were depressed as they feared social seclusion and a bleak future ahead for the girl child.

The mother also explained her hardships with feeding and tending to the little one. Taiba could not feed properly. So, her nutrition level was much less than normal children of her age. This made her prone to frequent illnesses.

The neighbours informed Taiba’s parents that cleft gets corrected through surgery. They also learnt about Mission Smile’s Free Surgery Camp in Siliguri from leaflets distributed in their neighbourhood.  Eventually, they arrived at the camp venue on the designated date. Taiba’s parents were surprised to see many other children with cleft.  These children had come to avail themselves the free cleft surgery along with their guardians.   Taiba’s parents felt terrible for them too. However, in some way, the fact comforted them in believing that “they’re not alone”. This increased their trust and faith in the surgery/ treatment procedure that their little child was about to go through.

Mission Smile’s medical team screened little Taiba. She received her surgery at our camp venue –Kejriwal Stone Clinic & Kidney Care Centre in Siliguri on 21st July 2017.

The surgery was successful. So, the surgery team advised the parents to bring Taiba for the post-op visit. They did this on time! Now Taiba’s parents were thrilled with their little one’s transformation. Her family members, too, welcomed Taiba on seeing her recovery. On asking what she wants her daughter to become when she grows up, Taiba’s mother replied that she wants her child to grow up as a right and honest person. Her reply touched our heart!

All the best little one! From Mission Smile, we wish her a happy and healthy future.

At Mission Smile, we’re working towards bringing more and more smiles to children suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate deformities. We require YOUR HELP to support us. DONATE to Mission Smile.